Long Beach-Sunday, April 23rd, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) hosted the inaugural Garifuna Festival. The Garifuna Festival celebrates the arts, music and language of Black Caribs- Garifuna people from Central America (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua).
The day long festival featured art workshops, children’s story time, Garifuna drumming, and face-painting. The festival also featured Garifuna craft vendors, mouthwatering food and drinks.
Arriving guests were entertained by the infectious dance beats laid down by DJ Fuego of Matralleta de Oro manning the sound boards.
The Garifuna culture was on full display throughout the afternoon. Lidereibugu Garifuna Ensemble (LGE), led the crowd and I on a tour of the vibrant Garifuna community through dance and drumming, with special guest recording artist Lil June. Members of the crowd were invited onstage to dance with the ensemble.
The Wanaragua Youth Dancers (Traditional Warrior Dance) continued our visual journey. The Warrior Dance was complimented with traditional drummers and a vocalist.
The celebrations went up a notch in an upbeat mode. Punta Mania Band cranked up the heat, on this hot Sunday afternoon, with a set of pulsating, infectious sounds of Punta music. The crowd immediately took to the dance floor to get their groove on for their hour long set.It is said that photos speaks volumes about an event. It goes without saying that a great time was had by all in attendance.
The Garifuna Festival was organized in collaboration with the Garifuna American Foundation United.
The Museum of Latin American Art is located at 628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, California. Visit www.molaa.org for more information about current exhibits and upcoming events.